PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A scoping study into ASX-listed Broken Hill Prospect’s Copi North heavy mineral sands (HMS) deposit, in New South Wales, has proven the deposit to be economical.
Based on a throughput rate of 1.4-million tonnes a year, the Copi North deposit could produce about 100 000 t/y of heavy mineral concentrate over a five-year period.
The project was expected to require a capital investment of some A$21.8-million, and could potentially yield revenues of A$163.6-million over the mine life, from the sale of ilmenite, rutile, zircon, leucoxene and ilmenite concentrates.
“The study shows a robust positive cash flow during what appears to be the lowest mineral price we have seen for some time,” said Broken Hill chairperson Creagh O’Connor.
“These very pleasing results bolster our plans to develop a very profitable business. The compact and modular processing plant can be relocated, as and when required, to any number of our 20 other HMS deposits, as well as extensions to the Copi North resource, which our exploration team is currently exploring.”
Following on from the positive scoping study, Broken Hill had started logistical planning for a step-out shallow air-core drilling programme to explore the western extension of the deposit. The programme was expected to be complete by mid-March.
A prefeasibility study on Copi North would likely follow on from the completion of the drilling, which was aimed at increasing the project’s mine life to between eight and ten years.
“Our vision is to capitalise on high-grade HMS deposits, which have historically been regarded as too small for traditional standalone development. However, with new advances in technology, we believe that production from these shallow sand deposits has significant potential to provide very healthy returns for the company and its investors, as we progress from explorer to developer of HMS, in the Murray basin,” O’Connor said.